Filipino toddler thriving a year after life-saving liver transplant

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 24 February, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 24 February, 2007, 12:00am

One year has made big difference to three-year-old Filipino Mark Jairius Mendoza, who received a HK$1 million life-saving liver transplant in the city with the help of generous Post readers and donors to coin-collection boxes in the Philippines.

Mark, back in town this week for a medical check-up at the Liver Transplant Centre almost a year after the March 9 transplant, is a happy and active youngster whose reliance on medicine has decreased dramatically.

His mother, Lyden, gave part of her liver during the marathon double surgery to cure her son of congenital biliary atresia, an absence or closure of ducts that drain bile from the liver.

'March 9 will be Mark's second birthday,' Mrs Mendoza said. 'I had promised to myself that I would bring him back to Hong Kong one year after the transplant, so he could see more of the city that made this possible.'

The boy turns four in August.

Mother and son flew in on Wednesday, and the next day went to see the liver surgeons Lo Chung-mau, chair professor of hepatobiliary surgery at the University of Hong Kong, and assistant professor of surgery Vanessa De Villa. They fly back to Manila on Monday.

Mark has grown taller, talks a lot, keeps jumping and tumbling - and loves to collect toy dinosaurs and wearing his Blue Power Ranger wristband. From 18 doses of medicine a day, he now only has to take two and a weekly battery of tests has been reduced to monthly.

In June, Mark will start junior nursery school in Manila and by August might have a younger sibling. Mrs Mendoza is pregnant.